tv Politics Public Policy Today CSPAN November 8, 2011 6:00am-7:00am EST
they have a close relationship. as they should be. they draw on each other's strength. it is a symbiotic relationship. the chairman of the joint chiefs of staff does not command anybody. i did there was not one person that i could impose any uniform court of military justice on, not one. they all belong to the services. i was sometimes introduced as the commander of all u.s. forces. in afghanistan, i was introduced as the number one warlord of the world. [laughter] you are an adviser, so everything you do is sort of threw influence. but it is powerful, because were the principal military adviser, but the law goes on to say if you differ from it -- it your opinion differs from the service teams, you are obliged to tell the president or secretary but as ever does. one of my big roles was to try
to ensure that the joint chiefs of staff was well-informed and we debated the policy issues of the day to the extent where we could all come to consensus. unfortunately and the four years i was chairman, i never had to say, mr. president, here is my view, but, by the way, somebody else does not agree, and here is their view. we always would find common ground. and it was not hard. there were a couple of things that helped. not just my terrific leadership capability. we have budgets that were going up. so there is not a lot of service squabbling, and we were a nation of four. -- a nation at war. we were focused on that. and as people probably know, the coast guard is not part of the joint chiefs of staff, but i had an open invitation to become gadahn, the two are the -- to the commandant of the
coast guard to come to meetings. i insisted they be there for some meetings. because we all had to work hand- in-glove. i think for the time that steve and i came to the air force, which was essentially about the same time, what we saw in vietnam was not in very joint in terms of service interoperability operations. there were a lot of different air forces waging war on north vietnam, and we all had our own places we flu. that is all nice and everything, but you cannot call it a very unified effort. even near fourth, i mean, we had -- seven their force. -- even the air force, we had the seventh air force. we had the 13th air force and thailand, where i served.
the theater was not that big. it got so bad that congress had to lead. they passed an act which mandated we worked better to bear -- together. they did that starting with education and then to flag rank, you had to go through an assignment with someone's service, a joint assignment. and that is paid dividends to the point where we are pretty good at working together today. that is really good because as we struggle with budget cuts we know we will have, within 60 killed -- $64 billion in 2012. there will be services that will come down in capability. we will have to rely on each other even more. what this really showed was the major combat phase in iran. the services, there was a
dependence on one another. there were people with conventional concourses, fox and the army go crazy with this, but it worked very well. air force had responsibility for certain parts of iraq, which you would want ground forces to do, but you were given the task, so you do it. there was really interdependence. tommy phrase gets credit for bringing a truly interoperable, all service forced to bear on the problem. and it showed. the major combat was over fairly quickly. it started in march and it was over in may. saddam was not captured and
tells december, but his entourage was gone. i think we have done pretty good and i think you'll see it. at the air force academy in west point, before your captains you will have a feeling of service much differently than when we joined. we did not have that same service. so we are better. thank you, sir. >> which is the most fun with the least responsibility? i continue where i had the most fun, the most fulfillment. i was an instructor of what was called the fighter weapons school. you had to construct on a platform academically, and you had to construct in the air and
write your own syllabus and your own tax code. it was really hard, but it was really fulfilling. and i was obviously a young captain. and we had our flying, as a good flight -- we were not a war when i was doing all this. this was post-vietnam. it was the most exciting flying you could do in the united states air force. it was just so rewarding. so that was probably -- and you were with people that were just as dedicated to the mission as you were. and it was absolutely fun and a blast. what we were doing was taking some of the lessons out of vietnam where we did not have the right equipment or the right training, and try to rectify that. so those years were very fulfilling in terms of how we were trying to change the air force, and doing it as a captain, as someone who had been in the service up to 10 years.
so that was it. that was the most fun. by the way, talking about character and leadership, i should mention, one is approved. i think good leaders also know how to have fun and service people have fun. the number of times i would work with secretary rumsfeld, it could be intense, and one of the ways to get back to center was to make fun of yourself or make fun of something, try to be humorous. and then you get back to doing your work. humor, having fun, a sense of humor, it is all part of your character that you are developing. it is ok to have fun very good question. -- it is ok to have fun.
good question. >> [unintelligible] >> was there a point in my career where i wanted to quit? there were several times when i thought i would be fired or be in so much trouble that i would have to quit. , but no time that i felt like i wanted to quit. perhaps the one time -- when i came out of japan, the japanese treat you like the second coming of macarthur. they are very fond of general macarthur to set up a lot of things in japan. they revere him. he is a guide to the japanese. so when you come as a defender of u.s. forces in japan can -- in japan, they treat you with great respect.
you may remember there was a rate of the angst schoolgirl in okinawa. i think she was 12, by a couple of sailors on labor day in 1995. a horrible incident. it caused a lot of turmoil. out of that, we actually made some progress, notwithstanding the tragedy of that family and that young lady, but on the way to the airport, i asked my wife. it is not going to get any better than this. somehow i made it the three stars, but i will not be promoted again. i am sure of that. maybe we should call it quits. it has been so fulfilling. bob wise said, and we were on this little minibus on the way to the airport to go back to the states, and i think i was doing it because i did not want to quit necessarily, but your family has to deal with this. i wanted to tease my wife and say you wanted to give it up. and she said, i think there is
more a venture left. she did not even know what she was speaking of. i never felt like i wanted to -- as you get into it, it is those qualities that i talked about earlier, working with people that have those same qualities, the same military culture. folks from west point and the air force academy and the coast guard academy, i mean, you are getting a real dose of it. i do not know how you feel about it, but i really started to feel good about that. started in the rotc and became, you know, flying with guys in combat that are willing to put their lives on the line, just like steve talked about. but my best friends, i started out on the back seat of an f for and went to europe. on the front seat was a wonderful guy. he got shot down one evening. he took a direct hit to the
valley of death for. -- to the ballet of that at-4. -- belly of that f-4. another man led the after the next year to go find out. i was in the tower. that would not let me do it. they told me to stay in that tower, being the supervisor. i saw him take off in the night just before dawn. two big afterburners as he is heading north. and they could not get down below the weather. but because he was a good pilot, he knew the territory like the back of his hand. he led them down through the clouds. there are a lot of mountains.
working with people like that. and then by 1:00, ralph came on to the ramp where we have all the airplanes. he looked fatigued, because it was late in the afternoon, as i said, and you usually flew with your visor down. you're trying to protect your face. he has advisor up. he look like or raccoon witchy cover -- which he recovered from. people want to put it on the line for their countries and their comrades, that is what it is all about. >> out of all your years of service, how long did it take
you to get your position, and what was one of the most dangerous aspects? >> which job? well, it took me, i was in the air force 36 years. by the way, i never thought i would be the chairman. when the bush administration came in, the secretary of defense, we did not hit it off very well. i think i probably had wandered two suits to my name. i have a lot of blue suits and stuff. as they are changing at the chairman, i thought i would not be the next guy. so i went to nordstrom's and bought a couple of sids. getting ready, you never know. but the only time -- combat, of course, is inherently dangerous.
you never know how close you're going to come. it goes back to the integrity thing. another example of integrity and our armed forces, and this could be an arm story -- i will tell you the air force version, but it is around. it is one thing when you put yourself in harm's way. if you put a loved one in harm's way, it changes everything. my wife and i, she would come to a rock with me, fairly early on, and afghanistan as well. -- she would come to iraq with me, fairly early on, and afghanistan as well. we were leading back down and the airplane next was was a c- 17, that its engine shop. when you are looking at the c- 130, it did not bother me so much.
i have seen a lot of airplanes shot. but i did not want my wife to see that. that is not what she signed up for. and you think about integrity, if you're counting on a crew chief of that sea-130, when he signs off on that airplane, that it is ready to go. that the gear is ready to go. alan not consider that dangerous. my wife never severed. i do not know what she thought about it. -- my wife never said a word. i do not know what she thought about it. how would get a really tight grip on my arm or leg when we were spiraling down on to an airfield. we had robin williams was one time and it got to him. he made the whole bit out of that flight. so i did not know. when you sign up, you sign up to
defend the constitution. implicit in that is the on limited, as some british distiller in -- historian/silver said, is that the unlimited liability goes with it. you are willing to give up your life for your country. that is implicit in what you do. it is a great thing to do. it does not make you particularly brave. i am not saying that. as you all know, it is implicit in the oath. thank you very much. this has been great. [applause] [captioning performed by national captioning institute] [captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2011] >> in a few moments, kill or clinton speaking last night at the national democratic institute pass annual awards general.
w. jack" is live at 7:00 eastern -- "washington journal" is live at 7:00 eastern. a couple of live events to tell you about this morning. attorney general eric holder testified before the senate judiciary committee in a justice department oversight. members are expected to focus on cooperation fast and furious, which might allow hundreds of mac -- of weapons into mexico. also it 10:00 on c-span3, the senate education committee hears from a panel of teachers from around the country as it considers the future of the elementary and secondary and it -- secondary education act. to the national democratic institute's annual awards dinner last night included remarks by secretary of state hillary clinton. this is about 45 minutes. >> it is my honor to introduce our keynote speaker.
tonight is like introducing the sky to the sun. it is not like we are unaware of hillary clinton's existence. she is a best-selling author, a grammy-award winner, a former first lady, a former senator from the great state of new york, and currently serving as america's 67th secretary of state. if that were not enough, she is also a prior recipient of an award. we all know her well and we are all aware that she has been doing an absolutely outstanding job in a world refuses even for a minute to stand still. she has taught president obama restore our nation's reputation and leadership in less than three years, went fresh energy to partnerships across the globe, and created a new
foundation for progress on issues that range from terrorism and arms control to human development and the empowerment of women. in the process, she has assembled a stellar state department team, made creative use of every available foreign- policy tool, earned the abiding respect of our armed forces, and generated enthusiasm wherever she has traveled. those of us who have seen her abroad know that she is an incomparable representative for our country. she does not just make appearances, she makes connections by explaining the goals that guide our actions and the interest that we share with law-abiding people on every continent. what you may not know is that our secretary of state has also been a stalwart defender of in the eye -- ndi where are places in jeopardy. given her position, it would
have been easy for her to go to other pressing business and priorities, but she has made clear that defending the truth about what we do it is a priority and that on her watch, supporting democratic institutions and values is at the very heart of american foreign policy. the arab democracy movement is only one area, many where our secretary of state has acted in a timely and effective way to keep our alliances together, maintain the nation's commitments, debt and our security, and uphold our ideals. it gives me great pleasure to introduce one friend to many others. please welcome secretary of state hillary rodham clinton. [applause]
>> if everyone could offer our sympathy for the death of a really remarkable mother, welcome. >> thank you very much. thank you. well, it is a great pleasure for me to be here this evening. i thank my friend and my predecessor madeleine albright for not only that kind introduction, but for her extraordinary leadership, and in particular, of ndi. thank you also for inviting me here today. i want to began by an eid ubarak to muslims around
the world and in the room. the national democratic institute was already on the ground building relationships, supporting the voices that would turn a long era of winter into a new arab spring. we may not know where and when brave people will claim their rights next, but it is a safe bet that cdi is their a -- ndi is there now, because freedom knows no better check in. what than a quarter century ago, ndi and its siblings have become vital elements of america's engagement with the world. tonight, i want to particularly to congratulate the winners congratulatendi's 2011 madeleine albright award, the women of appropriate communications techniques for development, women with everything to demand
their right for the egyptian people, and they deserve those rights extended to them. so we are grateful for their work and we hope to see the rights that they fought for and advocated for enshrined in egypt's new constitution. we are proud to support efforts like these through our middle east partnership initiative. [applause] tonight is also a singular special honor for me to join with you and remembering three friends of ndi, three people i was lucky enough to call my friends as well. geraldine ferraro, that trail brazing pioneer who live to the fullest our conviction that women belong at the heart of democracy.
chuck manatt, a passionate chairman of the democratic national committee who understood that some things are too important to belong to any one party, and with his counterpart at the rnc put together a bipartisan coalition to sound the nasa project the found the national democracy -- national endowment for democracy. and the indomitable, unforgettable richard holbrooke. richard has many reasons why those of us here tonight applaud and remember him. he died just like should days before that desperate act of the tunisian fruit vendor setting the arab uprisings in motion. i often wonder what richard would have made of all that has happened since. i'm sure that he would have had
a lot to say and even more that he wanted to do to promote the principles that we all cherish. so these three individuals are very worthy of the award that you had granted them this evening. and what each year 2011 has been for freedom in the middle east and north africa. we have seen what may well have been the first arab revolution for democracy, then the second and third, and in yemen, people are demanding a transition to democracy that they alert to -- deserve to see delivered, and syrians are refusing to relent until they can choose to decide their own future. throughout the arab world this year, people have given each other courage. old fears have melted away and men and women have begun making their demands in broad daylight. they have given many of our diplomats courage, too, and i
want to single out someone who is here with us tonight. when our ambassador to syria was mobbed, assaulted, and threatened just for meeting with peaceful protesters, he put his personal safety on the line to let the syrian people know that america stands with them. and he said he was inspired by their bravery. and as he drove into hama, a city under assault by a saeb's regime, the people of that city covered his car with flowers. please join me with giving our own warm welcome to ambassador robert ford, his wife, his fellow foreign service officer, alison barkley. [applause]
thank you, robert, and to you, alison, for your dedicated service to our country. in tunis, cairo, and a newly free tripoli, i have met people lifted by a sense that their futures actually do belong to them. in my travels across the region, i have heard joy, purpose, and newfound pride. but i have also heard questions. i have heard skepticism about american motives and commitments, people wondering if after decades of our working with the governments of the region, america does not in our heart of hearts actually long for the old days. i've heard from activists who think we're not pushing hard enough for democratic change, and i've heard from government
officials who think we are pushing too hard. i've heard from people asking why our policies vary from country to country and what would happen if elections bring to power parties we do not agree with or people who just do not like us very much. i have heard people asking america to solve all their problems and others wondering whether we have any role to play at all. and beneath our excitement for the millions claiming the right and freedoms we cherish, many americans are asking the same questions. tonight i want to ask and answer a few of these tough questions. it is a fitting tribute to people like gerry ferraro and richard holbrooke and chuck manatt. they liked opposed difficult questions and then push us to answer them.
meanthard's case, that even falling meat into a ladies room and pakistan one time. -- following me into a ladies room in pakistan one time. [laughter] we approach these questions with a large dose of humility, because many of the choices ahead are honestly not ours to make. still, it is worth stepping back and looking to what directly is on people's minds. but we start with one question i hear often. do we really believe that democratic change in the middle east and north africa is in america's interest? that is a totally fair question. after all, transitions are still with uncertainty. they can be chaotic, unstable, even violent. and even if they succeed, they are rarely linear, quick, or easy.
as we saw in the balkans and again in iraq, rivalries between members of different religions, sects, and tribes can resurface and explode. toppling tyrants does not guarantee that democracy will follow or that it will last. just ask the iranians who overthrew a dictator 32 years ago only that have their revolution hijacked by the extremists who have oppressed them ever since. even where democracy does takes hold, it is a safe bet that some of those elected will not embrace us or agree with our policies. and yet as president obama said at the state department in may, it will be the policy of the united states to promote reform across the region and to support transitions to democracy. we believe that real democratic
change in the middle east and north africa is in the national interest of the united states. and here is why. we began by rejecting the false choice between progress and stability. for years, dictators told their people they had to accept the autocrats they knew to avoid the extremists they feared. and to often, we accepted that narrative ourselves -- and too often, we accepted that narrative ourselves. america did push for reform, but often not hard enough or publicly enough. today we recognize that the real choice is between reform and unrest. last january i told arab leaders that the region's foundations were sinking into the sand. even if we did not know exactly how or when the breaking point would come, it was clear that
the status quo was unsustainable, because of changes in demography and technology, high unemployment, endemic corruption, and a lack of human rights and fundamental freedoms. after years of revolution broadcast on al jazeera into homes from rabat to riyadh, going back to the way things were in december 2010 is not just undesirable, is impossible. the truth is that the greatest single source of instability in today's middle east is not the demand for change, is the refusal to change. that is certainly true in syria where a crackdown on small peaceful protests drove thousands into the streets and thousands more over the borders. it is true in yemen or president
-- where the president has reneged repeatedly on his promises to transition to democracy and suppressed his people's rights and freedoms. and it is true in egypt, if overtimed the most powerful political force in egypt remains a roomful of unelected officials. they will have planted the seeds for future unrest. egyptians will have missed an historic opportunity. and so will we. because democracies make for stronger and stabler partners. they trade more, innovate more, and fight less. they help divided societies to air and hopefully resolve their differences. they hold in that leaders accountable at the polls, they channel people's energies away from extremism and toward
political and civic engagement. now democracies do not always agree with us. in the middle east and northeast -- and north africa, they may disagree strongly with some of our policies. but at the end of the day, it is no coincidence that our closest allies, from britain to south korea, are democracies. we do work with different governments to pursue our interests and keep americans safe. certainly not all of them are democracies. but as the fall of hosni mubarak in egypt made clear, the enduring cooperation we seek will be difficult to sustain without democratic illegitimacy and public content. we cannot have one set of policies to a advance security in the here and now, and another to promote democracy in the long run that never quite arrives. for all of these reasons, as i said back in march, opening
political systems, societies, and economies is not simply a matter of idealism. it is a strategic necessity. but we and not simply asking in our self-interest. americans believe that the desire for dignity and self- determination is universal. we do try to act on that belief around the world. americans have fought and died for these ideals. when freedom gains ground anywhere, americans are inspired. so the risks posed by transitions will not keep us from pursuing positive change. but they do raise the stakes for getting it right. free, fair, and meaningful elections are essential, but they are not enough if they bring new autocrats to power or disenfranchise minorities. and any democracy that does not include half its population,
women, is a contradiction in terms. durable above christie's depend on strong civil societies, respect for the rule of law, independent institutions, free expression, and a free press. legitimate local parties cannot have a militia wing and a political wing. parties have to accept the colette -- the results of free and fair elections and this is not just in the middle east. in liberia, the leading opposition party is making unsubstantiated charges of fraud and refusing to accept first round voting in which it came in second. and this is already having harmful consequences on the ground. we urge all parties in liberia to accept the will of the people in voting tomorrow. that is what any democracy anywhere requires. that brings me to my second question. why does america promote
democracy one way in some countries and another way in others? the answer starts with a very practical point. situations vary dramatically from country to country. it would be foolish to take a one size fits all approach and barrelful word regardless of circumstances on the ground. -- and barrel forward regardless of circumstances on the ground. in other cases, to achieve a goal, we would have to act alone had a much greater cost with far greater risks and perhaps even with troops on the ground. that is just part of the answer. hard choices also reflect other interests in the region with a real impact on americans' lives, including our fight against al qaeda, the defense of our allies, and secure supply of energy.
over time, all more democratic middle east and north africa can provide a more sustainable basis for addressing all three of those challenges. but there will be times when not all of our interests aligned. we work to align them, but that is just reality. as a country with many complex interest, we will always have to walk in a huge number -- walk and chew gum at the same time for that as a challenge in bahrain, america's close friend and partner for decades. and yet president obama and i have been frank in public and in private that proved forces are at odds with universal rights of bahrain's citizens and will not make legitimate calls for reform go away. meaningful reform and equal treatment for all our -- all of in the's citizens are
region's interests, all in less unrest benefits iran and extremists. the government has recognized the need for dialogue, reconciliation, and concrete reform. they had committed to provide access to human rights groups to allow peaceful protest and to ensure that those who cross lines in responding to civil unrest are held accountable. an independent commission of inquiry will issue its report soon. we do intend to hold the government to these commitments and to encourage the opposition to respond constructively. we also have candid conversations with others in the neighborhood, like saudi arabia. this country is key to stability and peace. we have a view that democratic advancement is not just possible, but a necessary part
of preparing for the future. fundamentally there is a right side of history, and we want to be on it. and without exception, we want our partners in the region to reform so that they are on it as well. now we do not expect countries to do this overnight. but without reforms, we are convinced their challenges will only grow. so it is in their interest to begin now. these questions about our interests and consistency merge in a third, a difficult question. how will america respond if and when democracy brings to our people and parties we disagree with? we hear these questions most often when it comes to islamist religious parties. of course, i hasten to add that not all islamists are alike. turkey and iran are both
governed by parties with religious roots. but their models and behavior are radically different. there are plenty of political parties with religious affiliation -- hindu, christian, jewish, muslim -- that respects the rules of the democratic policies. the suggestion that faithful muslims cannot thrive in a democracy is an insulting, dangerous, and wrong idea. they do it in this country every day. reasonable people can disagree on a lot, but that are things that all parties must get right, not just for us to trust them but most importantly for the people of the region and of the countries themselves to trust them to protect their hard-won rights. party is committed to democracy must reject violence. they must abide by the rule of law and respect of freedoms of
speech, religion, association, an assembly. they must respect their rights of women and minorities. they must let go of power if defeated at the polls. in a region with the division within and between religion, they cannot be the spark that starts a conflagration. in other words, what parties call themselves is less important to us than what they actually do. we applaud ndi for its work for arrive at a model code of conduct for political parties across the political spectrum and around the world. we need to reinforce these norms and hold people accountable for following them. intonation, and islamist party has just won a plurality of abode in an open, competitive election. its leaders have promised to embrace freedom of religion and full rights for women.
to write a constitution and govern, they will have to persuade secular parties to work with them. as they do, america will war -- work with them because we share the desire to see a tunisian democracy emerge because the merkel respects the right of the tunisian people to choose their own leaders. and so we move forward with clear convictions. parties and candidates must respect the rules of democracies, to take part in the elections and hold elective office. and no one has the right to use the trappings of democracy to deny the rights and securities of others. people throughout the region worry about this process -- prospect, and so do we? no one wants another iran. no one wants to see political parties with military wings and
militant foreign policies gain influence. when any member -- when any group seeks to undermine core democratic principles, we will stand on the side of the people who push back and defend their democracy. and that brings me to my next question. what is america's role in the arab spring? these revelations are not ours. they are not by as, for us, or against us. but we do have a role. the of the resources, capabilities, and expertise to support those who seek a peaceful meaningful democratic reform. and with some much they can go wrong and so much that can go right, the support for emerging american -- arab democracies is an investment we cannot afford not to make. of course, we have to be smart in how we go about it.
tens of millions of young people entering the job market each year, we recognize that the arab political awakening must also deliver an economic awakening. we are working to help societies create jobs to ensure that it does. we are promoting trade and investment, regional integration, entrepreneur ship, and economic reform. we're helping societies fight corruption and replace the old politics of patronage with a new focus on economic empowerment and opportunity. and we are working with congress on debt relief for egypt and loan guarantees for attendees is so that these two countries can invest in their own future -- loan guarantees for to nietzsche -- tunisia so that these two countries can invest in their own future. democracies are not born knowing
how to run themselves. in a country like libya, gaddafi spent 42 years hollowing out every part of his government, not connected to oil or to keeping him in power. under the libyan penal code, simply joining an ngo could be punishable by death. when i traveled last month to libya, the students i met at tripoli university had all sorts of practical, even technical, questions. how you formal political party? how'd you ensure women's participation in government institutions? what recommendations do you have for citizens in a democracy? these are questions ndi and its kindred organizations are uniquely qualified to end -- helped new democracies answer. ndi has earned a lot of praise for this work but also a lot of push back, which stretches far
beyond the arab world. in part this resistance comes from misconceptions about what our support for democracy does and does not include. the united states does not fund political candidates or political parties. we do offer training to parties and candidates committed to democracy. we do not try to shift outcomes or impose an american model. we do support election commissions as well as non- governmental election monitors to ensure free and fair balloting. we help watchdog groups learned their trade. we held groups find the tools to exercise their rights to free expression and assembly online and off. of course, we support civil society, the lifeblood of democratic politics. but in part, the push back comes
from autocrats around the world wondering if the next tahrir square will be there capitol square. some are cracking down when they should be opening up. groups light ndi are no strangers to pressure, and neither of the brave local groups you partner with. i want you to know as the pressure on you increases, our support will not waver. i want to offer special word of thanks to ndi's efforts to empower women across the middle east and beyond. just last week, the world economic forum released a report on the remarkable benefits countries see when they bridge the social, economic, and political gaps separating women from men. helping them get there is a priority for the state department and for me personally. graduates of ndi's training programs designed to help women but for all of us now sit in local councils and parliaments.
we all know a great deal of work lies ahead to help all people, women and men, a fine justice and opportunity as full participants in new democratic societies. along with their economic and technical help, america will also use our present influence and global leadership to support change. later this week, i am ashamed -- i am issuing new policy guidance to structure our efforts. in north africa, we are helping citizens sick are the principles of democracy, which means supporting the forces of reconciliation rather than retribution. it means defending freedom of expression when lawyers are arrested for criticizing officials. -- bloggers are arrested for criticizing officials. it means that when unelected authority la say they want to be out of the business of
governing, we will look for them to lay out our roadmap and abide by it. where countries are making gradual reforms, we have frank conversations and urge them to move faster. it is good to hold multi-party elections and allow women to take part. it is better when those elections are meaningful and parliaments have real power to improve people's lives. change needs to be tangible and real. but autocrats tell us the transition to democracy will take time, we answer, well, let's get started. those leaders trying to hold back the future at the point of a gun should know their days are numbered. as syrians gathered to celebrate a sacred holiday, their governments continues to shoot people in the streets. in the weeks since bashar assad said he accepted a plan to protect syrian citizens, he has
violated each of its basic requirements. he is not release all detainees. he has not allow free and unfettered access to a journalist or arab league monitors. he has not withdrawn all armed forces from populated areas. and he has certainly not stop all acts of violence. in fact, the regime has increased violence against civilians in places like the city of homs. assad can delay change, but he cannot deny his people's legitimate demands indefinitely. he must step down, and until he does, america and the international community will continue to increase pressure on him and his brutal regime. and for all the iran's bluster, there is no country in the middle east where the gulf between rulers and ruled it is greater. when iran claims to support democracy abroad and then kills peaceful protesters in the streets of tehran, it's -- its
high's -- its hypocrisy is plain to see. one last question i am asked in one form or another all the time. what about the rights and aspirations of the palestinians? israelis and palestinians are not immune to the profound changes sweeping the region. make no mistake -- president obama and i believe that the palestinian people, just like their arab neighbors, just like israelis, just like us, deserve dignity, liberty, and the right to decide their own future. they deserve an independent, democratic palestinian state of their run alongside a secure jewish democracy next door. and we know from decades in the diplomatic trenches that the only way to get there is through a negotiated peace, kepis we
worked every day to achieve despite all the setbacks. of course we understand that israel faces risks in a changing region, just as it did before the arab spring began. and it will remain an american priority to ensure that all parties on the the peace treaties they have signed and commitments they have made. and we will always help israel defend itself. we will address threats to regional peace, whether they come from dictatorships or democracies, but it would be shortsighted to say either side can simply put peacemaking on hold until the current of evil is done. the truth it -- the current upheaval is done. this is one more status quo in the middle east that cannot be sustained. this brings me to my last and perhaps most important point of all. for all the hard questions i
asked and try to answer on behalf of the united states, the most consequential question of all are those the people and leaders of the region will have to answer for themselves. ultimately it is up to them. it is up to them to resist the call that demagogues, to build coalitions, to keep faith in the system even when they lose at the polls, and to protect the principles and institutions that ultimately will protect them. every democracy has to guard against those who would hijack its freedoms for ignoble ins. -- ends. our founders and every generation since have fought to prevent that from happening here. the founding fathers and mothers of the arab revolution must do the same. no one bears a greater
responsibility for what happens next. when deputy secretary bill burns addressed the national endowment for democracy over the summer, he recounted the story of an egyptian teenager who told her father a few years back that she wanted to spend her life bringing democracy to egypt. good, her father said. because then you will always have a job. [laughter] we should never fall prey to believes that human beings anywhere are not ready for freedom. in the 1970's, people said latin america and east asia were not ready. well, the 1980's began proving them wrong. in the 1980's, it was after console where democracy supposedly could not grow. -- african soil where the democracy cannot wrote. the 1990's prove them wrong. this year, people said arabs do not really want democracy. well, starting in 2011, that
too is being proved wrong. and finally enough, it proves that egyptian father right. we all still have a job to do. so we have to keep at it. we have to keep asking the tough questions and be honest with ourselves and each other about the answers we offer. we cannot waver in our commitment to help the people of the middle east and north africa realize their own god-given potential. and the dreams they risked so much to make real. and on this journey that they have begun, the united states will be their partner. and of the many tools at our disposal, the national endowment ndi, and all of this family of organizations that were created three decades ago to help people make this journey
successfully, we will be right there. i heard madeleine say when she introduced me that i defend ndi. i do, and i also defense iri. i defend those organizations that we have created, that the american taxpayers pay for, who try to do what needs to be done to translate their rhetoric and the calls for democracy into the reality, step by step. and we have to be reminded from time to time that it truly is, or at least seems to be, a foreign-language. like some of you i have met with the young people who started these revolutions, and they are still passionate, but perhaps not clear about what it
takes to translate that passion into reality within a political system. so there are going to be a lot of bumps along this road. but far better that we travel this path, that we do what we can to make sure our ideals and values, our believes an experience with democracy are shared widely and well. it is an exciting time. it is an uncertain time. but it is a good time. the united states of america is standing for freedom and democracy, and i thank you all for making that journey possible. thank you very much. [applause] [captioning performed by national captioning institute] [captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2011]
>> on c-span3 this morning, the senate education committee hears from a panel of teachers from around the country as it considers the future of the elementary and secondary education act. that is at 10:00 eastern europe in a few moments, today's headlines in your calls live on "washington journal." at 10:00 eastern, eric holder testified before the senate judiciary committee in a justice department oversight hearing. that hearing expected to focus on operation fast and furious that might have allowed hundreds of weapons and domestic appeared in 45 minutes, bill gertz takes your questions about our grandpas nuclear program. we will get voter i.d. laws across the country with hans von across the country with hans von spakovsky